Let's dispel the myths of Meditation!
Starting Meditation In The Right State Of Mind.
Today, there are countless forms of meditation. Our focus here will be on setting you up for success, no matter which form of meditation you choose.
Let’s clarify, let’s acknowledge it - meditation can be hard. I say it not to be discouraging. It is meant to be quite the opposite. It is to reinforce that it is okay to struggle with your practice, especially in the beginning. It is completely normal and even has a name - “beginner’s mind.”
At the same time, meditation is one practice, where people expect to be at mastery levels on Day 1. We didn't have our first piano lesson expecting to play Rachmaninoff. We don’t go to our first Spanish lesson expecting to be fluent. Yet, most people practice meditation for the first time and expect a Dalai Lama-level experience.
I know I did. I had thoroughly read and believed all of the myths and misconceptions going into it. And, it still somehow led to unreasonable expectations, stress, and failure in my own mind.
So, let’s set the record straight to go into your meditation practice prepared and to build upon its successes each and every time.
3 Common Myths and Misconceptions:
1) Meditation is about stopping your thoughts and emptying your mind. It is impossible to stop our thoughts. It is the job of the mind to think. The mind is made for thinking just like eyes are made for seeing and noses are made for smelling. Our thoughts are going to be there, no matter what.
Instead, consistent practice helps turn down the volume of our thoughts. It is similar to having the TV on in another room; you hear it in the background, but it’s not as loud, distinct, or distracting.
2) The point of meditation is to achieve inner peace, calm, relaxation, and even bliss. The true role of meditation is to just breathe and to just BE. Meditation is a practice in awareness and being present.
We spend most of our time invested in our thoughts, and they often feel like they are overwhelming our mind. Mindfulness and our meditation practice shifts our focus to what is actually happening right here, right now. As we make this shift, a sense of calm and relaxation is meant to naturally occur. It isn’t guaranteed, but you can count on experiencing (at some level at least) your humanity, your own self, and the force you are to others.
3) You’re doing it all wrong. You may be surprised to learn the reasons you think you are doing it wrong actually mean you are doing it right!
If your mind is “chattering” too much, or you feel emotions (especially unpleasant ones), it means you are meditating. You are experiencing your feelings and noticing your thoughts. You are being present. You are being mindful. Instead of feeling defeated, congratulate yourself! Your meditation practice is progressing nicely.
There is more to meditation and it can be extremely simple, or infinitely complex.
However, you’ll be off to a great start with your new practice just by keeping these three myths in mind and being less critical of yourself.
Or, if you would like to learn more about the practice, we have many Guides who are happy to support you in learning to meditate.
After all, meditation may just prove to be the best thing for you!
By Julia Rebecca M., LifeGuide, Growth, Purpose, Fulfillment
Outside of being a wonderful writer, Julia is a certified LifeGuide, Speaking Circles facilitator focused on listening skills, hospice volunteer, and Mindfulness practitioner.